As wind energy gains ground in the U.S., SkySpecs is using drones and AI to detect future equipment failures before they grind those giant turbine blades to a halt.
The company, which works with wind farms to monitor the health of turbine blades from above, has locked down a fresh $80 million series D round led by Goldman Sachs to expand its “geographic footprint” and software tools.
SkySpecs builds its hardware and software in house, and already claims to monitor the health of close to half of all turbine blades in North America (for reference, there are 71,666 turbines in the U.S. alone). Since it launched in 2012, the firm says its drones have inspected more than 300,000 blades across dozens of countries. SkySpecs’ larger goal is to “help displace fossil fuel generation” by making renewables more efficient, per a statement from the firm.
SkySpecs is one among many drone businesses to focus on monitoring critical infrastructure. Others include Nerthlab, which also specializes in wind farm monitoring, as well as generalist firms like Skyqraft, Percepto and FPV Robotics.
Along with Goldman, investors in the new round include energy company NextEra, Düsseldorf-based VC Statkraft Ventures and Postmates backer Huron River Ventures. Though Goldman aims to funnel as much as $150 billion into climate tech, the financial behemoth also continues to back the expansion of fossil fuels.